Heart to Heart

This may be the most difficult post I’ll ever write. Partly because I’m forcing myself to be vulnerable and honest with y’all. But mostly because I’m having to be honest with myself. And that’s the really scary part.

Recently, I received an invitation from a Kidd’s Kids mom to attend the American Heart Association’s Dallas GO RED luncheon. So of course, I proudly put on my red dress and those fabulous Valentino shoes (that I NEVER wear because they just freaking hurt!) and headed to downtown Dallas.

Let me just say that the Omni Hotel is beautiful! The space was stunning, the women were stunning and obviously, it’s a pretty stunning cause! The event also honors my sorority, Alpha Phi, whose philanthropy is heart care. So it was a win-win for me!

The guest speaker was the incredible Lori Greiner (from Shark Tank) and as we ate chicken picatta and sipped champagne, I felt a wave of sadness and guilt come over me. Sadness because of the obvious, my dad dying of heart disease. And guilt because I think it was the first time I acknowledged that he actually died of heart disease.  It is very easy to focus on the fact that my dad is gone and ignore the reason he is gone. Honestly, I’m still in denial. Secretly, I think he is in Hawaii drinking Mai Tai’s and playing golf every day. But it’s time. Time for me to come back down and realize that he’s not. And acknowledge that he died of something that honestly, may have been prevented.

During the luncheon, they showed a video of a woman who’d had a heart attack. This mom of 3, in her late 30s was extremely composed sharing her story … Until she started talking about her kids. When she talked about the need to be alive for her three kids, I started to get teary. I know my dad didn’t want to leave me alone at 23 years old with my whole life ahead of me.
He was always the talented, entrepreneur, fire-pit but to be honest, he was always burned out. He went to work super early and for too many hours and then came home to be a family man. He burned the candle at both ends to provide for my mom and I and to accomplish his dreams.

This is a message to all the moms and dads, the sisters and brothers, and the aunts and uncles out there. You MUST take care of yourself so that you can take care of others. You know how when you’re on an airplane and the flight attendant tells you to put on your oxygen mask before the people with you. If you don’t have that “air”, you can’t take care of others.

I’m not trying to turn this into a PSA. But I do want to share what I learned. 1 in 3 women die of heart disease every year. That means that 3 of the women sitting at my table could die of heart disease. And because I have a family history, it’s likely that I could be one of them. Talk about jarring. It made me realize that I don’t want to be like my father and have my life end way before it should. I want to live a long life, help people, write these blogs and drink red wine (it’s heart healthy so it’s okay!)

So do me a favor. Take care of yourself. It’s the best gift you can give.

Cheers,

Caroline Cradick

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